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Self-Sufficient Living

What is Self-Sufficient Living?
Steps to Lower Energy Costs    Human Powered Energy   Off-Grid Living
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Step by Step to Lower Energy Cost in your  Home
Last Updated on:  06/25/2015 06:31 AM

Cooling Tips

  • Adjust the setting to 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Check & clean the air condition filters at least once a month. 
  • Keep the coils of an outdoor unit free of debris this include cutting back and/or removing plants, shrubs, etc.
  • Make sure that the return air vent inside your house is not blocked by furniture or other items.
  • Of course, keep all doors and windows closed when air conditioning is on.
  • Carefully caulk and/or put weather-strip around leaky windows and doors.
  • Install a ceiling fan or use a portable fan to supplement your air conditioning. The "breeze" from these fans will make you feel cooler.

Heating Tips

  • Adjust the setting to 68-70 degrees. 
  • Check & clean the air condition filters at least once a month.
  • Call a professional to inspect your your heating system annually.
  • Call a professional to inspect and clean your ductwork annually.
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure that the damper is closed tightly when not is use.
  • Reverse the direction of ceiling fan blades to push warmer air down.
  • Apply plastic sheeting or storm windows over old or leaking windows.
  • Unless you have a gas or oil furnace, which needs air for combustion – keep crawl space vents closed in the winter.
  • If you plan to be away for several days, turn the thermostat down to the lowest setting, but not off (to help limit the possibility of freezing pipes).
  • Using a portable heater for “spot” heating lets you lower the temperature in the rest of the house, but using it too much can be costly. 
  • Lower the thermostat at night.  A programmable thermostat make raise and lower temperature easy.

Water Heater Energy Tips

  • Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees.
  • Take showers instead of baths, saving on a average of 4-5 gallons of water.
  • Wash clothes using cold water with a cold water detergent.
  • Run your dishwashers only when you have a full load. 
  • Wrap hot water pipes with a low-cost insulation.

Household Energy Tips

  • When in doubt microwave because microwave ovens use about half the power of a conventional oven. 
  • If you have to use the oven, remember to turn it off 15-20 minutes before the end of cooking time.  Don't open the door because the heat in the oven will finish the job.
  • When the food on the burner begins to boil, turn it down to a simmer.  At this low setting, the food more evenly and saves energy.
  • Put your computer to sleep. Activate your computer and monitor's power management features to power down when sitting idle.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights whenever possible.
  • Place insulators behind the electrical outlet cover plates to prevent air loss.
  • Unplug your cell phone and PDA chargers once they’re done charging because they continue to draw energy even after the device is fully charged.
  • Remember to turn off lights when leaving a room.
  • Buy Energy Star appliances.
  • Don't run exhaust fans for more than 20 minutes.
  • Install low flow showerheads (VIDEO - How to install a low-flow showerhead (open new window)
  • Limit shower time to 10 minutes or less.
  • Install a setback thermostat and reduce your home temperature when you are gone.
  • Shrubs and trees around your house shade the windows in summer and protect from chilly winds in winter.
  • Consider using an electric blanket instead of a space heater
  • Install full blinds or drapes to make the home more comfortable in summer. Open them in winter to use solar energy as an additional heat source.
  • Caulk and seal any gaps underneath baseboards to prevent indoor air from leaking out.
Solar Systems
  • Install solar panels - Both federal and state tax credits can certainly reduce the initial costs.
  • Install solar-powered swimming pool heater
  • Lower your water heating bill significantly by installing a solar-powered water heater.

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